NEW BALTIMORE, N.Y. – Two people accused of keeping 39 dogs in unsanitary conditions have pleaded not guilty to numerous charges against them in New Baltimore Town Court.
Dawn Verdeschi, 43, and Christopher Cella, 55, both pleaded not guilty to 32 counts of failure to provide sustenance, two counts of failure to provide appropriate shelter for dogs, and one count of failure to provide sustenance for a Persian feline. Cella is the alleged co-owner of one of the properties where the animals were found.
After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Cella turned himself into the Greene County Sheriff's on his charges in March.
Dozens of dogs and a cat were removed from two properties in the Town of Durham in February after an anonymous call from a citizen concerned about the animals sparked an investigation. Officials described the conditions of the home as deplorable and at least one dog found inside a home did not have water and ate snow when it was brought outside.
The Greene County Sheriff's Office said the dogs were covered in feces and without food or water.
The Columbia-Greene Humane Society and Greene County Sheriff’s Office responded to the homes and helped to remove the animals, which included seven puppies. Since then, most of the dogs have been adopted to new families.
However, there were problems with some dogs and co-ownership issues. In March, Columbia Greene Humane Society President Juan Perez said 18 of the dogs were living at their new adoptive homes, leaving 21 dogs still being cared for by the Humane Society.
Officials described the conditions of the home as deplorable and at least one dog found inside a home did not have water and ate snow when it was brought outside.